Friday, May 8, 2009

I Heart Faces - Constructive Feedback

The first photo is my SOOC.

In the second photo, I removed the color cast (so-so result), fixed some facial blemishes, increased the contrast about 18%, and ran unsharp mask at 68%.

My son is not the easiest subject for me. He's hard to pin down and hard to get to smile for the camera. However, he did oblige me a few weeks ago, however after giving me an ample 25 nanoseconds to take pictures, the "smiley session" came to an abrupt end. I was so disappointed when the best shot I had of him came out a bit blurry. I know how to remove color cast but I'm not always happy with the results. I really need to make this photo pop as I would love to frame it.

Can anybody tell me how to improve this in PS CS4?

Let the constructive criticism flow!!!! I don't have the photo EXIF data on this one and I'm not quite sure where to find it when I don't have the photo uploaded to Flickr. I apologize for that. I know I had my ISO set at 400 but I don't the other stuff.


Mr. Tharpey said...

i've found that if a picture is out of focus...sometimes it's nice to convert to black and white and up the contrast a bit. just a thought!

Dot O said...

Mr. Tharpey, I will give that a try. Thanks for your input.

Julie Rivera Photography said...

The blur is definitely an issue, but what a great smile and I can understand your desire for this to be a keeper. I think you can bring it to a printable level, but would not recommend printing larger than 5x7.

I pulled the image into CS3 and immediately ran an unsharp mask at the default settings to add some clarity. I find the background distracting, so I used the blur tool at about 50% strength to blur the plaid lines. This also simulates a shallower depth of field, which could have been a good choice in camera. I also found the competing red of the background to be overpowering. You can lasso your son's face and torso, then invert the selection, go to Hue/Saturation with colorize clicked and pick the color you like best. I think you did a great job adjusting the skin tones! I really didn't manage to come close to your improvement there.

Good luck!

Dot O said...

Thanks Julie! I think I get so excited that I have my son in one place and smiling (yeh, I was not thrilled with what was in the background either) that I try to get the photos too quickly, without paying attention to all of the camera detail that I need to- this photo has shown me how that just doesn't work.

I can't wait to try what you suggested! Mother's Day will be my day to sit and do some photoshopping without interruption!

Becca said...

I think it's great how well you changed/fixed his skin tone - I dont really know what to do for the blurryness other than unsharp mask, which you already did :-)

AJ said...

Your settings are: ISO200 | f/5.6 | 1/8. The culprit for the blurry shot is the shutter speed. I found those settings via Opanda's plug-in for firefox. Just a right click on the large photo and there they are :).

I like what Julie's recommended here. I played and couldn't get it sharp enough for me. I even tried a high pass filter, but it didn't come out good.

He's a good looking fellow with a lovely smile. I can see why you'd want to save this one!

Sorry I couldn't be more help!
Amanda J.

theArthurClan said...

Oh Dot - such a wonderful expression captured and the photo turned out blurry. I hate it when that happens!

I worked with your photo a lot, but was never able to get it to look really sharp. Here are the best edits I could do:

1) - I just followed my basic editing workflow for this one. I then added a layer mask with gassian blur to try to tone down the distracting background.

2) - On this version I ran the Old Skool action from TRA and then adjusted a bunch of their layers. This is the action I run on my nature photos when they are a bit blurry.

3) - I tried over and over to get a good B&W conversion, but nothing I had looked good on this photo. I thought this sepia conversion turned out pretty good though.

I hope this helps a little bit!

co-founder of iHeartFaces

Life with Kaishon said...

I love that you got a great smile! He is so cute : ). You inspire me to be a better mother!

Dughallmor Beagles said...

Sorry....I know nothing of this subject so can't help. Just came over to see what you've been up to and say hi :o)
How's your mop holding up? Hehe....and your patience!?
Belly rubs for those furry little darlings :D

Teresa said...

Dot, I've been there a million times...I have a son who is not always a willing volunteer to be photographed, and I also have forgotten to make sure my shutter speed was high enough to prevent camera shake. Don't be afraid to raise your ISO, because a noisy photo is better than a blurry one.

You've gotten lots of good advice here. I played a bit, and I decided to darken the plaid and brighten his face. I used actions from Totally Rad (EZ Burn and Yin Yang). I worked on the skin tones a little and I also sharpened as much as I could.

Here's a link to my edit:

The most important thing about a photo is how much it means to you. Don't let camera shake discourage you from enjoying this nice picture of your handsome son. When you're satisfied with your edit, print it in a small-ish size and put it in a frame!